Finding Joy in Service to Hashem
VaYakhel serves us two very important ideas. 1) G-D always forgives a repentant person and, 2) Repentance and G-Ds loving kindness brings Joy. Parashat VaYakhel lays out before us the procedure for making the Tabernacle. The plan was delivered to an assembly of the entire community of Israel at which the people were told that the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to have His Presence dwell amidst them, and to this end commanded them to make Him a “dwelling place” (Tabernacle) in their midst. The same people of whom it was said, “they went into mourning, and no one put on his finery” (Ex. 33:4), now received the tidings that the Lord would dwell in their midst. We can easily imagine what a joyous and spiritually elevating moment this must have been.
The rejoicing was two-fold: they had been forgiven for the sin of the Golden Calf and they had been given a commandment through which they could now prove anew their faith and devotion to the will of G-d. Nowhere do we find that the Torah reports on the dispersal of a convocation, but here Scripture informs us, “So the whole community of the Israelites left Moses’ presence” (Ex. 35:20). Or Ha-Hayyim remarks on this, “It means they all left in order to bring quickly, that is, they went immediately in order to bring their gifts humbly and joyously, with great eagerness and generosity.” Abarbanel adds, “They all gave these contributions lishmah–for its own sake– to worship the Lord and fulfill His command.” The Torah’s description of their generosity is full of joyous vitality, repeating the verb “to bring” ten times (35:20-29), and also stressing how their “hearts moved them.”